Burnt Lemon have taken their acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose on the road with a retooled cast, score and book and a good deal of anticipation. The bones of this new version of the show remain the same, telling the story of Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American radio journalist wrongly convicted of treason in 1945. As in the original, themes include xenophobia, cultural identity, and scapegoating, all with a six-strong female cast. The show opens with the high-energy and undeniably catchy “Hello America” – attention well and truly grabbed. Unfortunately, the number also represents the pinnacle of what is otherwise a flat, one-note production. The book (by Baldwin and Yoon) is generally good, retaining some of the smart, self-referential moxie that made the show charming in 2019, but is let down by the weakness of the score.
Here’s a slice of history from Out of the Forest Theatre, set during World War Two. It follows the story of King Boris the Third, who allied with Nazi Germany for geopolitical reasons, but wanted to keep Bulgaria out of the fighting and his Jewish citizens safe as much as possible. This story is told with the use of dramatic recreations of what we are told are true events, with Bulgarian Folk tunes peppered throughout the performance.
Two men on a nearly empty stage, reading aloud scripts from a sitcom first screened over fifty years ago, might not sound like the makings of a great night out. But for fans of the beloved television show, Dad’s Army Radio Show is a genuine treat.
In his first production as Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company, Matthew Xia brings this unique story to the Orange Tree Theatre in a new production. Written by Maya Arad Yasur, this play provides a brilliant perspective on the atrocities that took place during World War II, and how these acts spill over into and still impact the lives of those living in present-day Amsterdam.
When Howard Zinn was a bombardier in WWII, his plane was too high up to see the damage caused by the bombs he dropped. As a young academic after the war, he visited some of these places, rebuilt but with civilian trauma still fresh in survivors’ minds. These experiences cemented a life-long opposition to war and social injustice, manifested in activism, writing and scholarship. He believed that learning about history was the best way to avoid repeating it, and that listening to the stories from anyone other than the victors is crucial to that learning process.
Musical theatre excels at turning an otherwise serious subject into an extravaganza of high camp. Though it’s easy to dismiss such approaches as light and frivolous, SpitLip – a new company formed by members from Kill the Beast and Felix Hagen & the Family – tell the true story of a British intelligence operation with plenty of panache and satirical social commentary (and heaps of high camp) in this smashing new show.
Post-World War II, the city of Paris is putting itself back together. People go to work, people get married, people get by. Monsieur Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw) epitomises this attitude, working harder than the other clerks in the office, and yet, he feels the sting of loneliness. Amongst the other tortured, Parisian souls is Isabelle (Anna O’Byrne), a woman married off much too young and trapped by a much older man, known simply as the Prosector (Alasdair Harvey).
When I told my mother I was moving to Russia, she sighed and reminded me that to her, Eastern Europe was a cemetery. Her grandparents had fled during the Russian Civil War, and her parents had grown up watching details of the Holocaust emerge, night by night, like a dark beacon announcing the violent and final end of Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
The Vaults is the ideal venue for what is essentially a one-woman, Weimar era Cabaret show.
Stephanie Ware plays Eva Von Schnippisch, a hard-drinking, fun-loving cabaret performer in wartime Berlin. We learn about Eva’s rise to become one of Berlin’s top night club performers, which leads to the British secret service recruiting her to do undercover work gathering intelligence in the fight against Germany.
A new musical about gay men under Mussolini (politically, if not physically) sounds so exciting. Silvio Berlusconi’s claim that ‘Mussolini never killed people, just sent them to holiday camps’ brushes off the dark reality of imprisonment, violence, and unrecorded deaths. Yet by clearing out the closet, government officials gave gay men in particular the freedom to live openly and form tentative relationships in their Mediterranean exile. It was a queerly liberating sea breeze.